UK & World News
Shooting: Lanza's Mum 'Prepared For Worst'
The mother of the Connecticut gunman, who was the first of his 27 victims and was killed with a rifle she owned, was "prepared for the worst", according to people who knew her.
Adam Lanza's aunt said Nancy Lanza had a survivalist mentality and was worried about protecting her home if the US economy nosedived.
She is reported to have been stockpiling food in the large home she shared with her 20-year-old son in Newtown, Connecticut.
Nancy Lanza, 52, who friends said kept her private life private, owned and registered the two handguns and rifle her son used in Friday's shooting.
The weapons were among half a dozen firearms legally registered to her, authorities said.
The divorced mother-of-two was found dead in her pyjamas in bed after being shot four times in the head with the rifle.
After leaving the house, the gunman then went to Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown with the weapons he took from her.
He got inside by breaking a window and began blasting his way through the building and murdering 20 children, all aged six or seven, and six women.†Adam Lanza†later took his own life.
Investigators said Nancy Lanza had visited shooting ranges several times and that her son also went to a range.
Ginger Colburn, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said it was still not clear whether Nancy Lanza brought her son to the range or whether he ever fired a weapon there.
Adam Lanza's aunt Marsha Lanza told the Chicago Sun-Times that Nancy Lanza wanted guns for protection.
"She prepared for the worst," Marsha Lanza told the newspaper. "I didn't know that they (the guns) would be used on her."
She also told CBS: "Last time we visited with her in person, yeah, we talked about prepping and 'are you ready for what can happen down the line when the economy collapses?'
"I didn't actually see them (guns), we just talked. I knew she had three."
Dan Holmes, who got to know Nancy Lanza while doing landscaping work for her, told The Washington Post: "Guns were her hobby. She told me she liked the single-mindedness of shooting."
Mr Holmes said Nancy Lanza never invited him in. She would pay him in the yard and the landscaper never saw Adam.
"I would ring the bell on the front door, and she would come out the side and meet me," he said. "It was a little weird. It's stranger now thinking back on what happened."
One law enforcement officer said Adam Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger's, a mild form of autism characterised by social awkwardness.
The gunman has been described as "socially awkward", "shy", "a nerd" and "super smart".
As a teenager he would scuttle from class to class, pressing himself against walls and clutching a black briefcase "like an eight-year-old with a teddy bear".
Marsha Lanza could not confirm reports that Adam Lanza had Asperger's or any other learning disability.
But she said his mother had disputes with the local school district and eventually ended up educating Adam Lanza at home.
"(Nancy) had issues with school ... She battled with the school district. I'm not 100 per cent certain if it was behaviour, learning disabilities, I really don't know. But he was very, very bright. He was smart."
Education officials said they had found no link between Nancy Lanza and Sandy Hook school, contrary to news reports that said she was a teacher there.
Investigators said they believe Adam Lanza attended the school many years ago, but they had no explanation for why he went there on Friday.
Neighbour Rhonda Cullens said she knew Nancy Lanza from get-togethers she hosted where they played Bunco, a dice game. She said her neighbour had enjoyed gardening.
"She was a very nice lady," Ms Cullens said. "She was just like all the rest of us in the neighbourhood, just a regular person."
Louise Tambascio, who became a shopping and dining companion of Nancy Lanza said: "Her family life was her family life when we were together. She kept it private. That was her own thing."
Marsha Lanza described Nancy Lanza as a good mother. "If he had needed consulting, she would have gotten it," she said. "Nancy wasn't one to deny reality."
But friends and neighbours said Nancy Lanza never spoke about the difficulties of raising her son.
Mostly she noted how clever he was and that she hoped, even with his problems, that he would find a way to succeed.
Court records show Nancy Lanza and her ex-husband, Peter Lanza, were divorced in 2009. He lives in Stamford and is a tax director at General Electric.
When the couple divorced, he left their spacious home to Nancy Lanza and told her she would never have to work another day in her life, said Marsha Lanza.
The split was not acrimonious and Adam Lanza spent time with both his mother and father, she said.